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Friday, June 28, 2019

What is on your desk?

A large part of making my day easier for myself, is not having to search for things.  Over the past 1,000 years (or 14) I have come up with a few things that make every day easier for me!  #1 I am a very visual person, if I can't see it, it does't exist, so my desk is a mess. but there are a few highlights.  

I have a small crate of files of things I need all the time.  This includes "the plan" aka my pre-planned calendar for the year, grade sheets, Things to turn into the office, folders for tests to be turned into, keys for tests (because you always have someone absent on test days), and folders for my examples I do with the kids.

Next, near my computer.  I have I blue "stand-up thing" where urgent things land, I have post-its, I have pics and small gift figures.

I also have a scanner that doesn't work, multiple cups, I'm only using two of those, and I have coasters, and more post-its, then the pens, markers, pencils, and markers that only I get to use.

I spent a lot of time looking for this stinking little white remote before I bought this tray!  This tray holds the remote, tape and the stapler the kids can use (but I don't leave it where they can reach it because they tend to try to shoot staples at one another).  The easy button was a gift, and the windex bottle is supposed to be where the magnetic clothes pins are ... but I took this picture in May.

Last but not least, I have my bathroom pass tracker ... and a place for my special pens, and the blue is where the bathroom pass is supposed to go ... 

So obviously I didn't stage the pictures to be perfect, but I hope you got a couple of ideas to help your day easier.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

What's in your drawers? Organization for High School Teachers

This year I had to go through the drawers of another teacher's desk (at their request on a day they were sick) to try to find something ... and until then I didn't know other teachers desks were so much different than mine.   Don't get me wrong, my desk is a mess!  At least the top of my desk is a mess, but the drawers are usually tidy.  So I am offering a tour of my desk. 

Let's start with that middle drawer.

Again, notice the mess of papers on the desk.  But I have these really cheap shallow drawer dividers, all are identical, the right one is turned upside down in relation to the others.  It's the end of the year, so a few are empty, but let's start from the left and talk about what should be in each one.  The far left should be pens, then post it tags and pencil lead, then tacks and push pins, then markers then there should be pencil top erasers, rubber bands, and different sized paper clips in the empty containers, then my favorite block erasers, then erasers for mechanical pencils, then pencils.  You can see i have a few random tags, and erasers in the top super shallow wells, an one eraser I made into a stamp.  but everything has it's place.

Now for the junk drawer :)

This where I keep back up caffeine, manicure kit, chargers, staplers, staples, stamp pads, a random forearm (confiscated), random keys, toothpaste, a tooth brush, an exacto knife and a paper cutter (meant for gift wrap).  As well as, post-its with keys or passwords, or whatever else I can't remember.  Did you spot my Mr. Roger's Encourage-mints? My super sweet co-worker go those for me this year.

Next is the large drawer to the left of the middle. 

Now the front of this drawer looks like a mess. I have a microwave popcorn maker, popcorn kernels, an emergency kit (blue bag), hair brush, fishing line, and I think there is a toy of some sort that I confiscated and dome hot chocolate there as well.  Behind that I have grade sheet, labels, hall passes, and colored paper and card stock filed by color.

The small drawer to the right of the middle.

I have mints, copy me forms, mini staplers, random plastic bag, tennis ball (again confiscated) labels, note cards, calculators, tools/lab ware, plastic ware, and scissors.

Now for the big drawer to the right of the middle.

The the front I typically keep my composition books, and I have a special composition book (pictured) where i write funny things that happen in class, and notes that students give me, then I have a sprial, more labels, a few folders, then hanging file folders for paperwork I need access to every year, notes from the office, and even a file for artwork students made for me including several cartoons of myself.  They are so funny! 

I know many teachers out there have organizational schemes and desk drawers that will out mine to shame, but I think this is a good jumping off point, if you are just randomly throwing things in your drawers.  :) 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Biology Stations

I have been trying to figure out stations for high school kids for a long time and not much ever made sense to me for my room.  But I finally came up with a station type activity for my freshmen when we were reviewing the cell cycle.  I think with a few edits it may be how I teach cell cycle next year.  We had 5 stations, but some stations could be repeated for larger groups.  Students drew colored blocks from a black bag to form random groups (sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse).

Here is how I envision my stations next year (after lesson/review).

1. Foldable with room for drawing and text.  Get the drawings done here from photos I have labeled.

2. Foldable with room for drawing and text.  Get the descriptions done here from textbooks.

3. Make Cell Cycle Plate following the template provided.

4. Complete matching descriptions to phases.

5. Coloring sheet with stages of mitosis to merge with plate ... or animal cells to merge with the plant cell drawings on the foldable.

Definitely still a WIP (work in progress - shout out to my kid), but I feel like I have a much better idea of how to run stations for high school kids.

I don't think I will run every class period like this but it would be cool to do this 1-2 times per month or six weeks just to switch things up!

Do you do stations?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

WTHS is on video!! Quality of Work & Cheating.

Oh man!! Talk about taking a leap!! We have jumped from behind to screen to be on your screen ... In our very first video, you get to see our thoughts on student quality of work and cheating.  You get to enjoy our silliness as well.  We hope you watch and enjoy.

Where do your students struggle most?  What do you do to help meet those needs?  We feel that together we are stronger - all of us - yes, including you!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

School Culture and Climate

If you would take a minute or two to click the link and fill our little survey we would love to hear from you.  School Culture and Climate Survey (WTHS)

Also a big thank you to all of you!! We just passed 400K total views!  I can't wait to share all we have coming up with you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

pH Practice

Today was pH day in AP Biology!  So a million years ago I made this really simple worksheet/practice sheet for my AP Bio kids.  Today the kids did awesomely!  I would love to tell you that this is because of my amazing teaching ability... but it's about my classroom dynamics at this point.  So the kids took notes last night (from a video I made at least 4 years ago), and they had questions about how to determine the pH, Hydrogen ion concentration, and hydroxide ion concentration.  So we worked a couple of problems together.  Some kids caught on quickly, and a few weren't there yet.   So I took this opportunity to discuss proper ways to help peers.  I reminded them that they have all had the same classes with the same teachers, most of them for a really long time.  So sometimes it is more helpful to have a peer reword it for you because you speak the same language. 

I have listed the worksheet and the key in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store: pH Practice.

What do you do to help your kiddos understand pH?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Cell Organelles Pet Peeves

So when you ask a room of 9th grades what they know about the mitochondria there are approximately three responses: blank stares, light snoring, or "the powerhouse of the cell."  Nope, not in my classroom.  When I first started teaching I was ecstatic with that powerhouse answer, and I even did the project where the cell is a city and they have to come up with analogies for organelles as parts of a city ... once.  I didn't feel like they understood what ANY of it meant.  For example, when I asked them "what does a powerhouse do?"  blank stares, more light snoring, and someone trying to get on their phone ... nothing.  So they don't get to say that in my room.  They have to have an answer that has to do with making ATP.  This has officially reached ridiculous levels this past year with my band students including AP Bio and Freshmen Bio students.  It started small and built quickly to the point that it was mentioned in a speech at graduation.  

The other organelle that I fight is the nucleus.  I have two issues.  When I ask "what is the nucleus of a cell?"  I get a few responses: blank stares, light snoring, "the brain" or "it's where the protons and neutrons are."  So after eye-rolling and thoughts of day-drinking (just kidding), I make sure we go over the differences in the nucleus of a cell and the nucleus of an atom.  Then once we are focused on cells the only answer I will accept has to have something to do with containing DNA. I focus on the DNA being instructions for activities, but the nucleus doesn't select for or against activities. The kids don't fight me as much on this one.  

If this is what you teach your kiddos, I don't want you to feel like I am judging you, or creating any negativity, it's mostly about me being so wacko due to teaching freshmen for approximately one million years ... what was I saying?

Do you have any pet peeves or anything you are particular about in your classroom?